Updated: November 21, 2019 06:08 PM
Created: November 21, 2019 01:47 PM
GREECE, N.Y. (WHEC) — Federal prosecutors say that federal and local investigators will address a pawn shop scheme that led to charges against five people.
Greece Police executed a search warrant today at the Royal Crown Pawn Shop on Dewey Avenue near Mosley Road.
Deputy Greece Police Chief Casey Voelkl said that Greece Police were assisting with a federal search warrant and the Internal Revenue Service was involved.
Five men have been charged at this point: Thomas Nary, Eric Finnefrock, Ralph Swain, Devin Tribunella and Wade Shadders.
Authorities say they’re facing fraud, conspiracy and identity theft charges. They allegedly accepted stolen merchandise from area stores like CVS, Kohl’s, Target and more at Royal Crown Pawn Shop and Rochester Pawn and Gold.
Together they’re accused of purchasing and reselling more than $15 million worth of items online.
Federal authorities say these pawnshop workers and owners were targeting people who were addicted to opioids. Officials say in one year, at least 15 people have records of selling items to Royal Crown or Rochester Pawn and Gold within five days of overdosing.
U.S. Attorney James Kennedy Jr. gave an example.
“By way of example, and I know its not even our most recent example, on October 18, 2019, an individual identified as V.C. Suffered a fatal overdose,” Kennedy said. “V.C. had three prior reported sales to RPG for a total of $650 in the three weeks before his death, on October 17, one day, the very day before V.C. Died of an overdose, v.c. Sold an Apple iPod to RPG for $130.”
Jim Doyle, Tribunella's attorney said, "My client has a legitimate business never previously has there been an issue raised."
Authorities say they believe there are more pawn shops across the area involved in schemes like this.
If convicted, these men face a maximum of 20 years in federal prison. Three of the five defendants are due back in court in January.
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